The well rubbed phrase about Bombay being about money, and Delhi being about power is somewhat incomplete. Delhi is about both money and power. In copious amounts. My sister and I were at the Jama Masjid (and other parts of Old Delhi) today and the sheer contrast in the various Delhis is striking.
We climbed the tower in Jama Masjid to take one amazing look at the crowded lack of a skyline in the city. Old Delhi, unlike Gurgaon and Bombay and other new places in this country sprawls. Not for it anything more than four floors. It lies flat unto itself. Asymmetric rooftops mingled with incoherent lanes. Nothing straight. Nothing wide.
In this crooked city, money is everywhere. I am not complaining. But it’s everywhere. Like dust. Except the dust in this city actually does settle once in a while, but money keeps flying around.
So today on the FM I heard an advert for the Delhi University elections. In our time it was mostly about badly made posters, with candidates opting for soft-focus photographs. Perhaps a rally. And some jeeps with loudspeakers. I heard a suave advert today for a political party on campus. Power here is moving from the street to the FM waves. Somehow, they seem less menacing. But they’re probably even more dangerous in some way. It’s like selling fruit juice to children and telling them it’s healthy.
Then, my sister and I were walking along in Connaught Place and saw Rahul Gandhi walk with a young man – towards Janpath. No security in sight. He was in a carpark and pretty much walking alone. My sister found that a little weird. (some lines deleted here on some sound advice). It’s pretty strange really that a man whose grandmother and father were assassinated manages to walk about pretty freely in such a crowded place. Will someone please get him some security? Like now!